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The Top 10 Biggest Kitchen Fire Safety Risks

Posted on: July 18, 2013

Do to the constant presence of high heat and extremely flammable liquids, restaurants and commercial kitchens have a fire risk much higher than standard environments. This is why our Confires technicians pay special attention to the fire safety equipment features during our inspections. Here is a list of the top 10 fire safety issues we come across and why it’s so important that you make sure they’re taken care of:

1) The system is not UL300 Listed – Many older kitchen fire suppression systems rely on a dry chemical extinguishant. While this was the standard back in the day, the widespread transition from animal fat to vegetable oil use in deep fat fryers has made the systems obsolete. Dry chemical systems are no longer able to control the higher temperature, longer burning fires produced by vegetable oils. A UL300 Listed system is specifically designed to handle these intense fires, contain them longer, and prevent splashing of hot oil during the fire.

2) Nozzle covers missing – when kitchen fire suppression systems fail to fire, the first thing we look at is the nozzles. When the nozzle covers are missing, airborne grease can clog the hole and impede or prevent operation of the extinguishing system. A problem like this can bring an entire business to the ground, so make sure you take great care to ensure your fire suppression nozzles are intact.

3) Nozzles not aimed properly – did we mention how important the fire suppression nozzles are? If a nozzle is not properly aimed to deposit the extinguishing chemicals on the source of the fire, it will be less effective.

4) Unprotected Combustible construction within 18 inches of hood– combustible materials within 18 inches of the kitchen hood may aid in the spread of fire. Incombustible materials, including mineral wool pads, provide a barrier that creates a break in the fire’s path.

5) Filter panels are installed wrong – filter panels are specifically designed to collect grease so it doesn’t end up on the hood. If they aren’t properly installed, the amount of grease they are able to collect may be reduced, causing more accumulation on the hood.

6) Hood or suppression system does not cover all appliances – if a fire occurs in or on an appliance that is not covered by the hood or suppression system, the kitchen fire suppression system won’t be able to reach it to put it out.

7) Inadequate cleaning cycle – hood and vent systems need to be kept sparkling clean at all times, lest they themselves become fire hazards. Adequate cleaning schedules vary greatly from one kitchen to the next. A full-service restaurant using multiple fryers or woks may need to be cleaned monthly, while a low-volume kitchen like that in a daycare or senior center only requires cleaning annually.

8 ) Lights not covered with explosion-proof covers – explosion-proof lights are generally required in applications involving high heat or high risk of fire or explosion.

9) Out of date fire suppression system tags or irregular maintenance – when a kitchen suppression system is serviced, a tag should be left by the servicing company indicating the service date. An out-of-date tag indicates that the system is not being serviced regularly.

10) No, or inadequate, separation between open flame appliances and fryers – without adequate separation, oil can splash or splatter into open flames, causing a fire risk. Suitable separation can be achieved by either providing 16 inches between the appliances or using a 16-inch vertical, non-combustible (metal) divider.

Since commercial kitchens are such high-risk environments, it’s critical that you take your fire protection seriously. For fire system maintenance for your commercial kitchen in New Jersey or Delaware, call Confires today.

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